Along Came a Spider…

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect,” said Oscar Wilde.  This is one of my favorite quotes since life is always serving up a hot plate of the unexpected.  A few weeks ago, the unexpected reared its ugly head in the form of a itsy-bitsy spider…

I was at the neighborhood pool with my two kidlets, enjoying a dip in the lukewarm kiddy pool. After about two hours of splishing, splashing, running, jumping and a little bit of swimming, we were packing up to head home for peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I sat both of the kids on chairs and I squatted next to them to help get shoes on, dry off, etc.

While I was dressing the smaller kiddo, I felt a sharp sting on my toe and immediately crushed whatever it was that bit me. I assumed it was a pesky fire ant and didn’t even look at the squished bug carcass. I put on my flip flops and left.  I don’t remember my toe hurting very much, but it was feeling a bit hot.

Later that night, my toe was starting to swell and it was itchy and hot, yet there was no mark on it. It was just very red. I assumed I would see the telltale fire ant blister the next morning. Boy, was I wrong!

The next morning my toe was throbbing, burning, completely swollen, bright red and the skin was blistering. There was a very dark purple spot in the middle of the bite. I kept putting bandages on it and tried to keep it out of harm’s way. Too little too late. By the afternoon, I noticed a red streak had formed from the bottom of my toe and it was spreading down my foot and up my ankle. Hello, urgent care on a Sunday!

As soon as I showed the doctor my fire ant bite, he looked at me and said, “that’s no fire ant bite.” He looked at it and frowned, “you’ve been bitten by a spider and I think it was a brown recluse.” At that exact moment my toe really started to hurt. Power of suggestion, I guess. When the nurse came in to bandage it, she actually moaned, “Oh my gosh! Gross! What happened to your toe? It looks awful!” Needless to say, it hurt even worse after her reaction.

For the next few days my poor toe was a bubbling cauldron of spider toxins. It looked absolutely horrible and it hurt. The doctor had given me a strong dose of antibiotic and told me I was fortunate to start the medication within 24 hours of the bite. He said waiting is a very bad thing. Scary.

I took some sisterly advice from Ms. Chatterly and motherly advice from Mrs. F. and DID NOT check out gruesome pics online of terrifying spider bites. My mind did not need to wander in that direction. Seeing my own little injury was more than enough.

It has been over three weeks since the bite and it still hasn’t healed. I don’t have a hole in my toe or a big crater. I have an oddly numb dark spot that is still healing, yet it feels pretty smooth. Hopefully it will continue to improve and this will be my (and my family’s) first and last encounter with nature’s venemous creatures. As a mother, I’ve never been so thrilled to take one for the team. Ah, the countless joys of motherhood.

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